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Dave at Night Hardcover – September 8, 1999


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060281537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060281533
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,233,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Gideon the Genius" and "Dave the Daredevil," their father called them: two Jewish boys growing up in 1920s New York, playing stickball and--in Dave's case--getting into trouble. But when their father dies, Dave finds himself separated from his older brother and thrust into the cold halls of the HHB, the Hebrew Home for Boys (which he later dubs the "Hopeless House of Beggars" and the "Hell Hole for Brats," among other things).

Eager to escape the strict rules, constant bullying, and tasteless gruel of the orphanage, the Daredevil hops the wall one night to explore the streets of Harlem. He hears what he thinks is someone--or something?--laughing, but traces the sound to a late-night trumpeter shuffling backward into a wild "rent party." And just as quickly as he'd found himself stuck in the HHB, Dave is immersed in yet another world--the swinging salons and speakeasies of the Harlem Renaissance. Cramped, crazy parties packed with the likes of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen give Dave refuge from life at the orphanage and awaken his artistic bent. And Dave's new friends, among them a grandfatherly "gonif" ("somebody who fools people out of their money") and a young "colored" heiress who takes a shine to him, help turn things around for him at the HHB.

The skilled Gail Carson Levine, Newbery Medal-winning author of Ella Enchanted, clearly tells this tale from her heart, as the story is based on her own father's childhood spent in the real-life HOA (Hebrew Orphan Asylum). (Ages 8 to 12) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

In a dramatic departure from her fairy tale fare, Levine (Ella Enchanted) creates a chiaroscuro effect as she contrasts the bleak days and colorful nights of Dave Caros, an orphan growing up amid the Harlem Renaissance. When his woodcarver father dies in October 1926, Dave's older brother, Gideon, goes to live with their Uncle Jack in Chicago, but none of Dave's relatives can afford to take him. Dave's stepmother places him at the Hebrew Home for Boys (nicknamed Hell Hole for Brats), and the 11-year-old vows to run away. But first he must retrieve his most prized possession, his father's carving of Noah's Ark, which was stolen by the superintendent Mr. Bloom (aka "Doom"), who is infamous for beating up boys. In the meantime, Dave finds a way to sneak off the grounds for the evening. Thus begins Dave's secret life, revealed through his first-person narrative. On his first night out, he meets Solly, a self-proclaimed "gonif" with a heart of gold, who uses Dave as a sidekick in his fortune-telling gigs. Solly introduces him to an avant-garde group of thinkers, painters, writers, musicians and Irma Lee, the young niece of a prominent African-American socialite. As Dave waits for the opportunity to reclaim his carving, he settles into his double life. His fellow "elevens" at the orphanage emerge as distinct, colorful personalities who come through for him time and again. Mr. Hillinger, the unwittingly hilarious art teacher who cannot complete a sentence, becomes a champion for Dave's artistic talents. And his nocturnal adventures lead to an abiding friendship with pretty and kind Irma LeeAas well as shed light on a fascinating corner of American history. In describing 1920s Harlem from a child's perspective, Levine articulates what it might have been like for anyone exposed to such innovation in art or the sounds of jazz for the first time: "It was wide-awake music, nothing like the waltzes Papa used to whistle. If I could have painted it, I would have used bright colors and short straight lines." This poignant and energetic novel, inspired by the author's father's childhood, comes with an all's-well-that-ends-well conclusion that brings a sense of belonging to Dave and his orphan friends, yet delivers a surprise as well. The Artful Dodger has met his match in Dave. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This could be one of Gail Levines best book yet.
Sarah A D
Levine tells her tale with warmth and humor, and creates a memorable and well developed cast of characters.
Amazon Customer
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction.
lauren regis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Julie Robinson on October 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dave by Night is a heartwarming story about an inquisitive Jewish boy who finds himself in an orphanage by day and out enjoying the scene of the Harlem Renaissance by night.
Levine captures both the warmth and discord of the Hebrew Home for Boys (HHB takes on many monikers throughout the book) as Dave makes his plans for his great escape. But wait! Where will he go? Won't he miss his buddies and those special art lessons too much? Also, he cannot leave until he rescues his father's carving from the notoriously wicked (and truly vile) superintendent of the home, Mr. Doom.
Among his new nightlife acquaintances, Dave befriends Irma Lee, a lonely African-American girl whose adopted mother throws the most talked about parties ("salons") in Harlem. Incorporating vivid descriptions of the salons into this novel provides a stark contrast between the wealthy and the poor of the 1920s, as it gives contemporary readers a chance to experience Harlem in its heyday. Hanging out with Dave around the clock gives readers a chance to learn more about how old cars ran, tricks "gonifs" play on the unsuspecting victims, lessons in sketching, and the joys of true friendship.
Sometimes funny, sometimes tragic-- Dave by Night is an adventure through times and cultures.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lauren regis on January 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I found this book, great, even though it was historically incorrect. Gail Carson Levine has always been one of my favorite authors, and when I found out theat she had a new book out, I just had to get it. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Emma on October 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I think this book was fantastic. It was incredibly descriptive and wasn't sugar-coated. It had many suspenseful parts that were planned out very well. You got to know the character's personalities, and they were all very interesting. I would reccommend it to all ages who are looking for a light, fun read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Gail Carson Levine is best known for her books that involve fairies and magic and such. But when I first picked up this book, I was pleased with this nice and wonderful change from the mystical fluff that is Mrs. Levine's writing style. I like her other books, but this is my favorite book that she wrote.

It is about a boy named Dave Caro, who lives in 1926, and his father has died and has to be sent to the Hebrew Home for Boys. But it is not a warm and welcome orphange that some think of. It is a rough, horrible place to stay in. Dave's determind to get out. One night he does and he peeks into the wonderful Harlem Night life. After seeing that, he's setting his heart on escaping, but doesn't want to leave his buddies back at HHB.

I loved reading this, and I think that this writing style reminds me of Sonia Levtin's style of writing. (Another great author). All in all, I enjoyed this book, but I'm not the type who reads a book for action. I read it if it has a good plot.

I have something to say to Miss Levine: WRITE MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M Gray on January 24, 2006
Format: School & Library Binding
Have you ever read a book with an orphan in it? If you have, good. If you haven't, that's good, too. Here is your first Dave At Night.

Gail Carson Levine has some really great skills. One of them is that she writes very vividly. I think you can really see and feel what the HHB is like. DARK, LONELY, COLD. You can also sense what Irma Lee's house is like. You can feel as though you're in the library listening to the piano.

One of Dave's friends is named Solly, and Solly is a real gonif. You will learn what a gonif is in the book. He meets Dave and they go to parties. Solly pretends to read peoples' futures at the parties. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Solly and Dave are telling fortunes with cards. Solly tells Dave to groan when he flips a card over. Of course, Solly makes them up but it is funny when Dave groans.

A conflict that is in the book is with the principal and Dave. The principal takes something away from Dave, that's where the story starts.

I recommend this book very much. I hope you read it!

Thanks for reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
When Daves father dies, his brother and him are split up among family members. His stepmother, Ida decided she cannot care for him properly, due to financial unstability. She takes Dave to a Harlem orphanage called the HHB. Soon after arriving, Dave discovers that the inside of the HHB is filled with abuse, illness and hunger, because of the high maintenance principal, Mr. Doom. Many of Daves new "buddies" warn him not to tango with the mean principal, but when Mr. Doom steals his only memory of his father, Dave has had enough. He begins planning an escape route, and starts sneaking out each night to find a place to stay. He meets Solly, a very generous man, who introduces him to a fine group of people. Solly, Dave and his buddies all bond very quickly and learn to stick up for each other and their beliefs. Daves spunk, along with the others; help, leads to the ultimate show down between Mr. Doom, and you will never guess who. To find out what happens, read the book. I dont like to read, but this book converted me. It is a great story, and I hope you read to find out why!!
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